Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Living in Afghanistan

The workshops have started well and we are more than busy: the theatre group in the morning, the ‘magic box’ children in the afternoon, and a class for older male students some evenings, as well as performances of “A Tale of Two Kites” at local schools and orphanages.

We were finally able to leave the Mediothek compound on foot today. It was an amazing experience to step outside the calm compound walls into the bustle of five o’clock commerce. The city is a sensory overload. The streets are busy with horse and donkey drawn carts heaving heavy loads of fruit and flour. The horses are decorated with colorful, decorative baubles and fake flowers adorn their harnesses. Bright blue, ornately decorated three wheeled rickshaws bear burqa clad women to work or to shopping, the rickshaw framing the half light of this very bright and dusty small city. The metal working shops are next to the fruit stands are next to the water pumps. Long quiet streets stretch away from the main drag, lined with trees. We achieve unisex roles when performing, but truth be told, there are not a lot of foreign women in Kunduz-- and the attention we get when we step out on the streets actually stops traffic. The scene is fascinating - we attempt to take everything in and yet somehow not create a stir.

At around the same time of our evening walk, there was what the news is calling a “major suicide attack” in the Baghlan Province, a neighboring district. The initial reports are that several important Parliamentarians as well as civilians and children have been killed, including Mostafa Kazemi, who was “a great man doing good things for Afghanistan” according to our friends here. We heard the news as we sat down to dinner. Everyone at Mediothek is shocked and saddened. Suicide attacks are a recent phenomenon in Afghanistan, giving a new edge to the violence here. “During the day we are smiling, but inside we are sad” Bibimah tells us of the Afghan sentiment about this attack.

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